Headlines: June 24th, 2011

Almost 40 per cent of social workers say their caseload is unmanageable according to a survey by the recruitment agency Liquid Personnel.

The survey found that 39 per cent of social workers find their current caseload unmanageable and 69 per cent say it has increased in the past 12 months. The figures come from a survey of almost 600 social work practitioners.

These figures illustrate the increased pressures being placed upon social workers, who are tasked with safeguarding society’s most vulnerable people. The survey also shows that more than 4 in 5 social workers, 81 per cent, are often working over and above their usual hours in order to get their job done.

Despite this, when asked if their employers had followed the Social Work Task Force’s recommendation and carried out a “health check”, covering key issues such as caseloads and vacancy rates, 50 per cent said ‘no’, and a further 36 per cent said they were ‘unsure’.

Jonathan Coxon, managing director of Liquid Personnel, commented on the results: “We want more people to understand the difficulties of being a frontline social worker, and the intense workloads that so many are facing.” “Monitoring your employees’ workloads is essential in any industry, but when the safety of vulnerable people is at risk, it becomes so much more crucial.” “By undertaking a workload health check, employers can help give a clear picture of the current state of the profession, as well as demonstrate that they value their own staff.”

He added: “However this will only be worthwhile if the resources are made available to actually rectify any problems which are identified”.